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ALRANZ: MPs’ Inaction Over Poor Auckland Abortion Services

ALRANZ Slams MPs’ Inaction Over Poor Auckland Abortion Services

The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) today expressed its disappointment at the failure of the Justice and Electoral select committee to examine access to abortion services across Auckland, and particularly the burden on women in South Auckland.

The recenlty released 2014 Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) report states that the committee is extremely concerned about access issues within the Counties Manukau District Health Board.

“In 2015, access to abortion services should be treated as basic healthcare. However in Aotearoa/New Zealand that is not the case,” said Dr Morgan Healey, ALRANZ President.

“Instead, due to its ongoing criminality and its placement within the Crimes Act, we have a report that should be discussed as a health matter appearing before the Justice and Electoral committee.”

In its annual report to Parliament, tabled earlier this month, the ASC repeated its concern to MPs regarding access to services in Auckland, which has been an issue since 2008, some seven years ago. The report was then referred to the Justice and Electoral select committee as abortion falls under the Ministry of Justice’s portfolion and not the Ministry of Health’s.

Healey said, “While we understand why the report ended up on the agenda of the Justice and Electoral select committee, we would have expected, as a minimum, that the committee would conduct an inquiry into the important public health issues raised. Why must abortion services come at such a high cost to the women who need them?”

“To our surprise the committee reported this week that it had ‘no matters to bring to the attention of the House’. This is an abrogation of their responsibilities,” she said.

ALRANZ is calling on these MPs to take responsibility for an issue of public health and to address the validity of abortion’s continued placement in the justice portfolio.

“Nothing will change in terms of improving access and availability so long as abortion remains a criminal matter. The focus must be on ensuring basic and humane healthcare that meets the needs of all people, and not allowinng political apathy to endanger women’s wellbing,” said Healey.

ENDS

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